“I don’t understand,” Susan complained. “My team just isn’t very creative, they never contribute ideas.”
“How so?” I asked.
“We have a problem meeting our output goals, some days we fall a little short, some days we fall short by a lot,” she started. “I called a meeting to get some ideas on how we could speed things up. To kickstart the meeting, I distributed a list of my ideas and then asked for ideas from the team.”
“And, I got no response, zero, nothing. The team just sat there, avoiding eye contact, looking at the ceiling, doodling on my list. Someone said they liked my ideas. After two minutes I adjourned the meeting. The team was worthless.”
“Then what happened?”
“That’s the worst part. One of my ideas was to start on time, but when I called out half the team for being late to start, all I got was grumbling. That day, we had the worst level of productivity of the week.”
“So, if you had the meeting to do over again, what would you do differently?” I prompted.
Susan just shook her head. “I would have cancelled the meeting before it started,” she snapped.
“But, if you DID have the meeting, what would you do differently to get a different outcome?”
Instilling discipline (being on time is the 1st discipline) in an organization is relatively easy. It is not quick but it takes discipline and patience.
Start by making sure the rules are communicated and understood. Safety equipment and procedures are a good place to start because the benefits (not getting hurt) are personal and know one can argue that benefit. Then try to catch people doing it right, wearing safety glasses, gloves, PPE etc. then publicly thank them, notice positive behavior. The same with being on time. Reward good behavior, it may be as simple as publicly acknowledging those who were on time. Keep a visual record of those on time. Catch people doing it right. Behavioral based safety is the best way to instill discipline in nan organization.